Live Stock Market Updates During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Economists expect 1.3 million new state unemployment claims.

With businesses reopening in fits and starts and anxiety increasing over new coronavirus hot spots, the latest unemployment reading on Thursday is likely to offer scant comfort.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the Labor Department to report that 1.3 million new claims for state unemployment insurance were filed last week, with 20 million people continuing to collect state benefits. If the experts are correct, it would be the 14th week in a row that new claims have topped one million.

The latest data will be published amid conflicting signals for the economy. New York and some other places that were hard hit are starting to get back to business. But a surge in cases in states that reopened earlier has raised fears of new setbacks.

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas urged residents to stay home and warned that the state might have to impose new restrictions if the virus could not be contained. And California and Florida have each posted record numbers of new cases in recent days.

Apple shut stores it had reopened in four states — Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Arizona — and on Wednesday closed seven stores in Houston.

“The renewed outbreak will hinder the recovery,” said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust in Chicago. “I can’t help but think that the willingness of consumers to be in crowded places has diminished. It’s going to be a long haul to get back to where we were before the pandemic.”

Founder of SoftBank is resigning from Alibaba’s board.

Masayoshi Son, the founder of SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate and investment company, said on Thursday that he would resign from the board of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company, in which he was an early and wildly successful investor.

The move comes after Jack Ma, Alibaba’s co-founder, said last month that he would quit SoftBank’s board, without giving an explanation

SoftBank, which runs the world’s largest technology investment fund, has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which has cratered the values of some of its largest holdings, like the car-sharing service Uber and the Indian hospitality firm Oya.

Alibaba has been a golden goose for SoftBank. Mr. Son’s original investment of $20 million grew into a stake valued at more than $100 billion. In recent months, SoftBank has sold down part of its stake in the Chinese company to raise funds for a large share buyback intended to juice its stock price.

Mr. Son and Mr. Ma have been longtime members of each other’s boards. Addressing an annual meeting of SoftBank’s shareholders, Mr. Son said that there was no bad blood between the two.

“It’s just a happy ending,” Mr. Son said. “Jack is kind of graduating from SoftBank Group, and I am graduating from the Alibaba Group.”

Asia follows U.S. stocks lower as infections rise.

Stocks tumbled on Wednesday, erasing back-to-back gains from earlier in the week, as investors were confronted by new signs of the coronavirus pandemic’s persistence.

The S & P 500 fell more than 2 percent, with shares of retailers, airlines and cruise companies — which are proxies for sentiment about the prospects of a return to normal — faring poorly.

Nervousness about the economic outlook was evident in oil prices, and shares of energy companies also declined.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region followed the drop in muted trading on Thursday, with exchanges in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan closed for a holiday.

German officials this week reimposed local lockdowns after an outbreak at a slaughterhouse infected more than 1,500 people. In the United States, a surge in new cases in states including Arizona, Florida and Texas have prompted new warnings about the dangers of the pandemic. More than 35,000 new coronavirus cases were identified across the country on Tuesday, according to a New York Times database, the highest single-day total since late April and the third-highest total of any day of the pandemic.

States are discouraging people from gathering in public and even reimposing some limits on activity. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut said on Wednesday that they would begin requiring out-of-state visitors entering their states to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival if they were coming from one of the country’s new hot spots.

The risk to investors is that a resumption of limits on travel, shopping or other activities that might further the spread of the virus will take a toll on corporate profits and the economy. For now, no state government has imposed the kind of limits that were in place in April and May but that could change as cases mount and hospitals reach capacity.

Houston’s intensive-care units are filled to 97 percent of capacity, Mayor Sylvester Turner told the City Council on Wednesday, with Covid-19 patients accounting for more than one-quarter of all patients in intensive care. Apple later said it would close its stores in the city as a precaution.

Underscoring concern over the impact of the virus, the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday revised its forecast for global economic growth sharply lower. The I.M.F. now expects the global economy to shrink by 4.9 percent, compared with a 3 percent prediction in April. The recovery will also be slower than earlier expected, the fund said.

The decline on Wednesday followed back-to-back gains on Wall Street that had lifted the Nasdaq composite to a record high. Led by large technology stocks like Apple and Amazon, the Nasdaq has outpaced the broader market in recent days, but it was also sharply lower on Wednesday.

The Walt Disney Company on Wednesday abandoned a plan to reopen its California theme parks on July 17, citing a slower-than-anticipated approval process by state regulators. The announcement came amid tension with unionized Disneyland employees, some of whom had publicly criticized the company’s reopening timetable as too fast.

“The State of California has now indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4,” Disney said in a statement. “Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials.”

Disney did not give a new target reopening date. The company said it would move forward with plans to reopen its Downtown Disney shopping mall in Anaheim, Calif., on July 9.

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, which border each other in Anaheim, closed on March 13. Two weeks ago, Disney presented government officials with a plan to reopen both parks on July 17 with limited capacity and stringent safety policies, including mandatory mask wearing. Other theme park operators in California have made similar proposals; Universal Studios Hollywood said it would like to reopen as soon as July 1, pending state approval.

But coronavirus cases in California have been soaring. Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday that the state recorded more than 7,000 new cases over the past day.

Unions representing most of the Disneyland’s 32,000 employees sent a letter to Governor Newsom on June 17 saying that “despite intensive talks with the company, we are not yet convinced that it is safe to reopen the parks on Disney’s rapid timetable.” Since then, many of Disney’s unions have signed agreements with the company outlining enhanced safety procedures.

Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.

  • Tomas J. Philipson, a top economic adviser to President Trump, plans to leave the administration at the end of the month, a White House official said on Wednesday. Mr. Philipson has served for the past year as the acting chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and has been a member of the council since 2017. His departure leaves the Trump administration without one of its key economic experts as it tries to contain the coronavirus pandemic and emerge from a deep recession.

Reporting was contributed by Ben Dooley, Mohammed Hadi, Matt Phillips, Nelson D. Schwartz, Carlos Tejada, Brooks Barnes and Alan Rappeport.


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